Canadian Man Charged with Production of Child Pornography and Extortion in Relation to Five Minor Victims
A federal grand jury in Maryland returned an indictment in December 2019, which was unsealed today, charging a Canadian man with production of child pornography and extortion.
According to court documents, Muhammad Luqman Rana, 32, of Vaughan, Ontario, from June 2014 to June 2016, persuaded, induced, and coerced five minor victims, residing in Maryland, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Washington, and New York, to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography and extorted the victims by threatening to injure their reputation.
Rana is charged with five counts of production of child pornography and five counts of extortion by threat to injure the reputation of another. If convicted of all counts, Rana faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 160 years in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Rana made his initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore today before U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Mark Saunders of the Toronto Police Services made the announcement.
The FBI and the Toronto Police Services are investigating the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Canada to secure the arrest of Rana in Canada and his extradition to the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Baldwin for the District of Maryland and Senior Trial Attorney Jennifer Toritto Leonardo of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.